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Ethiopian in DC

mboxermd Oct 26, 2008 08:26 AM

We are visiting our daughter in college in two weeks in DC and changed our cuisine to Ethiopian since we have heard good things about this cuisine in DC. We are looking for a fun, nice ambiance with really good Ethiopian cuisine. A friend mentioned Meskerem and Zeds as options. Also if you could recommend some dishes as well not to be missed. Thanks

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  1. s
    Steve RE: mboxermd Oct 26, 2008 09:13 AM

    The two best are located across the street from each other in the Little Ethiopia neighborhood.

    Queen Makeda is a true mom n pop family operation. Ignore the menu and ask for the food served family style (in bowls). Yebeg alicha(lamb curry), red lentils, greens, shiro, cabbage ,carrotts, tibs wat, either gored gored or kitfo lightly cooked (you could also get these raw, if you like tartare), just get a variety or ask for suggestions.

    Across the street is Etete, which is quite a popular retaurant. Ask for the derek tibs, the fastening food platter (a vegetarian selection) and add the fried fish on the side.

    Most other choices in DC are a few steps below these two.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Steve
      hill food RE: Steve Oct 26, 2008 09:38 PM

      I hate to second guess your friend, but Zed's and Meskerem have been left behind. If you're in G'Town or Adams-Morgan and want Ethiopian, then sure, but you'll find better around U Street and 14th - Queen M, Etete, Dukem are prime examples.

      good kitfo raw is indeed wondrous.

      1. re: Steve
        hamster RE: Steve Oct 27, 2008 01:05 PM

        I went to Queen Makeda again about a month ago and they seem to have shortened their menu considerably. Also, one of the veggie dishes tasted a little off...I had been wavering between Queen Makeda and Etete, but that experience sealed the decision. Etete has considerably more variety and more consistency, so that's where I'll be going from now on.

      2. w
        WestIndianArchie RE: mboxermd Oct 27, 2008 02:29 PM

        If you don't have a discriminating taste and know the difference between good Tibs from bad Tibs, go to Dukem on U Street.

        1. k
          klaus RE: mboxermd Nov 2, 2008 03:35 PM

          In addition to the U Street places I would recommend you consider the 9th street places just around the corner. Two of my favorites are Sheshemene and Zenebach.

          The veggie sampler and the lamb tibs at Sheshemene are very good. Address: 1909 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001.

          Zenebach, over on T St. is also excellent, but has a very small dining area. Address: 608 T St NW, Washington, DC 20001.

          1 Reply
          1. re: klaus
            hill food RE: klaus Nov 2, 2008 08:23 PM

            didn't know - on the list.

            I'm ticky about my injeera but always open.

          2. d
            dinwiddie RE: mboxermd Nov 4, 2008 06:47 AM

            Etete is fancier, and excellent, Queen Makeda more homey and also very good. These two, along with Dukem (where the cab drivers, many of whom are Ethiopian, often recommend) are the ones that are most often recommended. Meskerem and Zeds have both been around a long, long time, but as others have said, have been surpassed by some of the others that are in town, however, they still manage to provide a good meal. The Shaw/U Street area is Little Ethiopia and there are quite a few places there to eat. Others you might try if you are adventurous are Madjet (about the 1100 block of U) and Selam (1500 block of U).

            2 Replies
            1. re: dinwiddie
              hill food RE: dinwiddie Nov 4, 2008 12:58 PM

              I don't want to sound like I was dissing Z's or M's, one won't be unhappy or disappointed.

              despite my tolerance for just about anything, most injeera gives me a gassy feeling, but not the stuff found up in Shaw/U.

              Klaus and Dinwiddie - thanks for the tips. Do any of these places deliver? (lazy homebody)

              1. re: hill food
                mselectra RE: hill food Nov 6, 2008 06:29 AM

                FWIW, apparently Tyler Cowan is saying Zenebech Injera, 6th&T is his current favorite. I haven't been. http://dcist.com/2008/10/29/zenebech_...

                I think if it's your first try of Ethiopian, don't go to Meskerem (and I'm guessing Zed's, haven't been there). At least my experience with first-timers is they decide they don't like Ethiopian if that's their first taste. Better, I suspect, if you already like it and have a hankering. (Back a long time ago, I'm pretty sure Meskerem was where I first had Ethiopian, when I used to visit Adams-Morgan from out of town in the 80s. The U St area is more like what A-M was in those days.)

            2. d
              dining with doc RE: mboxermd Nov 7, 2008 11:03 AM

              I think that meshakerem's Diutii road house in Great Neck is a great choice. hahahaha. have fun this weekend in DC and enjoy the Ethiopian food, plus I hope that the princesses don't break the bank at Montgomery Mall.

              5 Replies
              1. re: dining with doc
                mboxermd RE: dining with doc Nov 12, 2008 02:02 PM

                Thanks dining with doc - avoid the ethiopian food at meskerem - we loved the ambiance of sharing and sitting on the lower cushions - but the bread tasted like a sponge and we had to make an emergency stop at Rite aid on the way home in order to pick up some urgently needed zantac!!!

                1. re: mboxermd
                  mselectra RE: mboxermd Nov 12, 2008 02:06 PM

                  ahhh -- we told you not to go there!

                  1. re: mselectra
                    DanielK RE: mselectra Nov 12, 2008 05:05 PM

                    Well, to be fair, injera is indeed sponge-like in texture, though it shouldn't actually TASTE like a sponge when made properly.

                    And the unique spice combinations, lentil-heavy vegetables, and ground nature of the food does do a number on people with sensitive stomachs not used to the cuisine.

                    That said, Meskerem isn't one of the better Ethiopian places in town by a long shot, but I'm not sure mboxermd wouldn't have had similar comments at Etete or Dukem.

                    1. re: DanielK
                      mselectra RE: DanielK Nov 13, 2008 08:33 AM

                      Good point. I just wonder if some people think they don't like Ethiopian food in general because they first tried it at the wrong place -- and since it might take getting used to, you want to start someplace good, if that makes sense.

                      1. re: mselectra
                        DanielK RE: mselectra Nov 13, 2008 09:18 AM

                        I completely agree with you - life is too short to eat bad Ethopian food!

              2. m
                mjf32 RE: mboxermd Nov 12, 2008 03:32 PM

                Dukem is where my Ethiopian friends usually eat. Stay away from places in G-Town or Adams Morgan. I actually can't stand injara (I call it wash cloth bread), but it's sourness is a nice match to the rich food. If you want a lovely coffee before dinner (for an all Ethiopian themed night) go to Sidamo on H Street NE. The owner is so kind and you will be treated like family.

                1. r
                  Rick RE: mboxermd Nov 13, 2008 04:34 PM

                  My favorite has been Etete. I recommend the fastening platter (all veg.) and add the fish.

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